The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Letter 1 .....from a farmer :

"This is how it all happened:-

In early August Tony Berkeley radioed to say that he was surrounded by war
vets, he was told to monitor the situation. This he did keeping the guys
informed.  Then Tony didn't answer the radio so the guys began to worry.
Eventually they decided they better go and see if he was okay.  I think at
this stage Tony had locked himself into a room without the radio.  On
arrival the guys came across the group of vets by this time they were in
Tony's garden and already appeared to be breaking into the house.  One of
the var vets attacked one of the farmers on entry and then I think all hell
broke loose.  The police had been called several times by Mark Shaw before
the guys went out and as the situation is they are most unhelpful.  When
the police finally arrived the guys decided to go straight to the police station
to make their statements.  On arrival they were arrested without bail.
Duncan Moyes, Mark Shaw, Fred Wallis went to their assistance and were
immediately arrested. all in all 23 people went to jail.  the charge was
public violence which should warrant a 200 dollars fine a month later they
were released on 200 000 dollars bail.  This initial amount was raised by
Les de Jager and a further one and a half million had to be paid to the
lawyers this week also raised by Les.  The lawyers have told them that the
legal fees will amount to more than 10 million dollars.  A frightening
thought for anybody and these guys have committed no crime.  The war vets
involved were released and i think paid a 50 buck fine.  After a month in
Chinhoyi prison the last thing these guys need is to worry about how they
are going to raise this kind of money.

On the 8th August we had to leave Palmerston Estates as the Cuerdens were
barricaded in and the war vets became violent.  Then the Tautes were hit.
We moved in with the Johnson's and the war vets told the street they would
not be planting a crop this year.  That included ourselves, rory hensman,
the hoys, derek nicolle, and the Bryce-Rogers right up to the watsons.  We
were not concerned because we had our home on Crofton next door to Two Tree
Hill where charl and tertia Geldenuys lived.  On the morning of the 10th at
the Johnsons pat heard the radio it was Charl Geldenhuys informing les that
he was surrounded by war vets.  Pat immediately got hold of Charl and told
him to try and get out while he could.  It was unfortunately too late they
had barricaded the road with trees. Pat got hold of the member in charge
and the phone was put down  on him, we tried again the same thing happened.
Les eventually tried but their was no response.  In the meantime Tertia,
charl's wife, their nine month baby and daughter reja watched from the windows.
Charl managed to take photos of the crowd looting, still no sign of police.
There was also a reluctance of farmers to go out and help because of what
had happened two days earlier.  Pat was in a panic.  Tertia then came over
the radio to say their dog had been shot at, charl apparently ran outside
to see what was going on and a shot was fired at him.  Pat and a group of guys
went out to John Barrats to try and organize a plan on how to get charl and
tertia out.  Suddenly nine hours later the police eventually arrive with a
tv crew and three ministers.  Charl and Tertia were let out of the house
under police escourt then had to attend a kangaroo court presided over by
the three ministers telling them they were looting their own stuff and that
they had shot their own dog.  They were astounded as you can imagine.
Charl and Tertia got off the farm.  In two days they looted all our houses in fact
trashed them all that is left are the walls.  You would not believe it.
Charl and Tertia Pat and I are refugeeing in a very nice house in Rxx. trying to sort out our lives.  During that weekend 45 farm houses
were looted and people beaten up in Chinhoyi.  The biggest shock to
everyone of course are these huge legal fees and as you can imagine these guys are
in no position to pay them and les ,on the looting at Two Tree alone is already down 150 million dollars. 
The names of the guys are as follows:- Les de Jager (jnr); Ben de Jager; Louis Fick; Conrad Vandermerve; Gert Pretorious (son of Chris Pretorious; Gert Pretorious snr 73; Gert Pretorious jnr; Gert Nel; Jannie Nel; Duncan Moyes; Robbie Moyes; Tony Berkley; Hamish Berkley; Jim Steel; William Steel; Tony Marillier; Kinky Taute; Norman Dolphin; Mark Shaw; Fred Wallis; Scott Marillier; Others implicated Neels van Heerden, Hennie Nel, Nevil Whittaker."

Letter 2:
THE Fugitive

Can you believe that your fund raiser is now in hiding herself, In two short months we have been trashed and looted, stopped from farming, refugees in
our own country and now on the run. I finally succumbed to a herbal
tranquilizer that they use to calm horses who have to go into trailers.
Believe it or not last Tuesday the police phoned the refugee house, how
they obtained the number don't really know.  An irrate and belligerent policeman
demanded to speak to my husband. I told him he was not available.  He then
proceeded to tell me that allegations had been made against my husband.
What are they I asked politely.  This was obviously a mistake as he
screamed even louder telling me my husband will be detained if he is not there in 20
minutes.  Patiently I explained that I must know what the allegations are.
This was obviously not a question to ask the police force,  it threw him
into a complete and utter rabid rage. You are protecting your husband are
you a witness. He must be here in 20m minutes.  I put down the phone.  It
rang again I didn't answer. We phoned the lawyer, as there is a slight
reluctance in getting anybody to go down with you to the police station as
most people who do, end up behind bars themselves.  The lawyer thought it
would be wise to pack a few things and leave town, So did our security
guys. So like thieves in the night we loaded our bag and left.  Unfortunately, we
had forgotten our trashed furniture on the back (of the vehicle) which had been dumped at
Shackleton Police Station after the raid.  With  our hasty retreat we had
forgotten the furniture which had been collected that day, no time to off
load so its in a fugitive state as well. So us and the furniture are in

The Chinhoyi 24's case has been remanded to the 1st November.  I am sure it

will be remanded again.  Do they have a case?  24 guys now without
passports and for what crime.? I thank everyone who is donating to the legal fees
without you guys out there we could not hang in believe me.  The numbers of
us not farming are increasing everyday.  The Abuja Agreement is a laugh and
we here on the frontline know it.  What else does it take to make our cases
known.  Only the powers of the pen.  I am so proud of the farmers in this
country they are wonderful people and they have to be, our community is our
life line and we all have to stick together.  Lets hope that we see it through.

Lots of love from the fugitives.

Letter 3:

Going to the Hensman's is a true African experience and nothing could have
been more wonderful than today.
I was thrilled to see Mana the impala and Hoggles the warthog still in good
form.  At least the war vets haven't tampered with their stress levels.
Mana was as as graceful and ladylike as ever her manners impeccable and her
delicate beauty took my breath away.  Hoggles has grown enormous and
sports a wonderful moustache and fine bristly back, her manners have declined a
bit but what she lacks in that department she gains in character.  We were so
pleased to see them looking so well and just as pleased to see Rory and
Lindy still in great spirits.  Just to be In the Hensman's house is the
essence of Africa. Hoggles snugged up on the couch, mana taking a
tentative sip of your drink, an owl being looked after in a cage and Lindy so serene
caring for everyone.  Its my most favourite place. But most of all nothing
can beat the elephants.  Rory and Lindy have dedicated years of their
lives raising and training african elephants and its the most marvellous
experience to see how the elephants and the Hensman's co-exist.  Nobody
could possibly understand the comittment that has gone into training these
elephants and the love and trust between man and beast. Today was very
special because we went on an elephant swim.  Clambering on Sebakwe's
back, holding on for dear life as we swayed down the embankment towards the
river is the most exhilirating feeling.  His big ears fanning me as he lumbered
along I felt I could have touched the treetops and I knew everybody in the
party felt the same way.  Nothing could be more special than being on an
elephant's back in the middle of the river in our beloved Africa.
But after the ride like we do every day in Zim we had to face reality.
The settlers houses dotted everywhere.  The careless cutting down of Rory's
precious trees.  The settler's cattle grazing in Rory's wheatlands, the
constant harassment by a group of people who will contribute nothing to
this wonderful, beautiful farm.  I only feel disgust and horror at what is
happening in this beautiful country and I find it so hard to believe that
this evil can prevail and destroy what people have spent generations
building up.  I feel so desperate for Rory and lindy
I could cry.  Is there nobody who can help us.  Love M Poem by WB : November 15, 2001


I scream inside,
I rage
I cry
as anguish  fills my day.

I turn my back,
I work,
I eat,
The pain wont go away..

At last I stop to pray.

And as I listen once again
I hear God gently say
Live my words.
Live in Me.
There is no other way.
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Daily News

Millions stand to lose the vote

11/20/01 8:27:01 AM (GMT +2)

By Lloyd Mudiwa

THE government has set new requirements for prospective voters, which
threaten to further disenfranchise millions of voters ahead of next year's
crucial Presidential election.

Civic organisations and the MDC yesterday said this was yet another attempt
by the ruling Zanu PF to rig the election due by April next year, in which
President Mugabe faces the biggest challenge to his 21-year rule from the
MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.

The State-controlled daily, The Herald, yesterday stated that prospective
voters will be required to produce proof of residence, for the inspection of
the voters' roll running from yesterday to 9 December.

People would also have to produce either their national identity cards,
valid Zimbabwean passports or drivers' licences.

Rural dwellers and farm workers would need confirmation by village heads or
farm owners vouching for their residence status.

Urban dwellers must bring title deeds or certificates of occupation,
lodgers' permits issued before 19 November 2001 or rates, water, electricity
and credit store statements in the voter's name and showing the physical

Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, yesterday said: "This
is yet another attempt to disenfranchise MDC supporters. It is a systematic
way of removing MDC members from the voters' roll. Never before have we had
these requirements."

Ncube said most people who had just turned 18 and others living with their
families have no proof of residence.

Urban dwellers and the young, who did not experience Zimbabwe's war of
liberation, are generally seen as being sympathetic to the MDC.

Most headmen are under the control of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters
and would not vouch for the residence status of MDC supporters, Ncube said,
adding that his party had received complaints from 150 people in Mberengwa
East alone. The complainants said their headmen had refused to register them
as voters. Similar complaints were received from Zvishavane, he said.

Ncube said he had asked his party's Elections Directorate to see what action
they could take.

Most commercial farm owners were forced off their properties in violent
invasions by war veterans.

Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), said: "I don't know in what terms of the Act they are saying that."

The procedure for the nomination of candidates and the election of the
President is prescribed in the Electoral Act, which does not demand such

"We have already condemned the electoral process because it seems to be
partisan in favour of one party," Madhuku said. "That is part of the reason
why the NCA has said it will demonstrate."

The NCA says it will protest at Parliament today when proposed amendments to
the Electoral Act, which it says are tailor-made to heighten electoral fraud
during the election, are to be brought before the House.

Madhuku said the NCA wanted the process done in way which inspired
confidence in the results.

Asked for comment, Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, said: "No. How can
you come here to court just for a comment?"

Mudede was at the High Court, where he is suing the Zimbabwe Independent and
Brian Hungwe, a reporter with the newspaper, over a story that he was a
beneficiary of loans from the late Roger Boka's collapsed United Merchant

Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
said: "I don't know what you are talking about. I have not yet read The
Herald. I need to read it first."

Civic organisations and the MDC have already criticised the government for
the proposed amendments, under which the government intends to designate the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) as the only body that can conduct
voter education.

The amendments seek to ban foreign funding for voter education, except where
the funds are channeled through the ESC, which is solely appointed by the

Only uniformed forces and staff at Zimbabwean diplomatic missions abroad
will be allowed to vote through the postal ballot.

But the MDC said the system disenfranchises thousands of Zimbabweans living

Madhuku said the fact that the government had begun inspection of the
voters' roll meant that it knew when the election would be held, but had not
yet made this public only four months before the due date.

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Daily News  -  Leader Page

State preparing a ban on political activities

11/20/01 7:36:15 AM (GMT +2)

THE government is trying to use the abduction and killing of Cain Nkala as
an excuse to crack down on anyone opposed to it.

President Mugabe's vow to crush the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
description of the opposition and the commercial farmers as "terrorists", is
an attempt to condition the public and the world to measures the government
is proposing against them.

By labelling them terrorists, the government wants to draw parallels between
how the United States has responded to the 11 September 2001 attacks on New
York and Washington DC, and how Zimbabwe should respond to the abduction and
killing of Nkala.

Washington has responded to the attacks in which more than 6 000 lives were
lost by a sustained bombing campaign of Afghanistan, the host country to
Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the 11 September attack on America.

The international community has agreed on naming and describing actions that
constitute terrorism. They have also agreed on the specific action against
anyone suspected of terrorism and those deemed sympathetic to terrorist

The wide coverage the government has given to the tragic abduction and
killing of Nkala seeks to lay the foundation and justification for its
proposed crackdown on the opposition and those it considers its enemies.

The government is uncertain of its prospects of winning next year's
presidential race. That is why it has decided to define the opposition as
terrorists. Its aim in doing so is four-fold: The first is to crack down on
the opposition. Mugabe's vow to "crush the MDC" should be seen in that

The second is to take out the MDC's perceived domestic sympathisers and if
they are foreign, to ban them.

The third is to derail the MDC presidential campaign strategy by, among
other things, sowing seeds of mistrust and general destabilisation of the
opposition. The fourth and ultimate strategy is the arrest of the entire
leadership of the MDC.

The irony of these strategies is that this is exactly how Ian Smith used to
deal with African nationalists - today's ruling elite - until just before
independence in 1980. Of course, Smith will admit his propaganda failed
contrary to what his spin doctors led him to believe, but what is happening
now is precisely a re-enactment of what took place under Smith.

In the long-term, the threatened crackdown will not work, although in the
immediate, it will buy the ruling party and its government relief by
removing competition from the contest.

Last week the war veterans urged Mugabe to declare a state of emergency.
This is where this theatre of political tragedy is leading us. The
government is afraid of putting itself to the test and rather than risk
losing, it seeks to impose itself and disregard the wishes of the majority.

The government has no intention of respecting the wishes of the majority,
where it appears they are likely to go against it. It is for this reason
that the government feels threatened by the presence of foreign observers.

Foreign observers were welcome during previous electoral contests. Why is
the government suddenly unsettled by their presence this time, when such
presence will only help to render the whole exercise more transparent and
assure it of international credibility?

The only conclusion is that the government is up to no good. It is panicking
because its intelligence knows that given a free and fair contest, it is
difficult to guarantee its success at the presidential poll due by April
next year.

The government's problem is that it misrepresents itself by not listening to
what the people want. The programmes it is busy banning from the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation offer it an invaluable research and insight into
the pulse of the concerns and aspirations of the people, if only it can take
time to listen

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From the news over the last week end for good reasons there is concern around the world, and locally.
To fill in facts gathered from various sources (political connections, factory workers and domestic workers):
On Friday morning a bunch of Zanu bandits mostly from Harare (transported by train) arrived in Bulawayo.  At Renkinini (the standard bus/taxi  area in Bulawayo they were fired up with speeches by Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.  Following this they went on a rampage of Bulawayo.  They were escorted by police but assaulted everyone on the streets, including school children and the elderly but particularly whites, in their "peaceful demonstration"  to the ignorance of the police escorting them.  For those of you who are familiar with Bulawayo, this started in the area around Lobengula St.  where Convent Girls High School is.  The school cancelled public exams for the day and told everyone to go home.  Some girls were beaten up by the peaceful police escorted demonstrators and were hospitalised.  Two white girls were more lucky.  Two black men seeing the trouble coming pulled them into a doorway and shielded with their arms to prevent the mugabe (no capital for a disgusting animal!) bandits from recogising them as white and protecting them.  
The mugabe bandits robbed and looted flea market owners of their wares - everything from shoes to TV sets and foreign currency tradionally dealt in by the Vapostori sect.
The mugabe bandits beat people at random in Bulawayo and then proceeded to the MDC offices which they burnt, ignited with petrol supplied from a container  carried in a police vehicle.  The Fire brigade was prevented from putting out the fire by mugabe bandits (hereafter referred to as mb's -news reports refer to them as war veterans but from their age, around 20-30, they are mb's!), and the police.
However, the people of Bulawayo are made of stern stuff.  It must be made clear that no word went out from the MDC to attack the mb's.  Given the amount of warning it would have been impossible to rally party supporters.  Spontaneously, around 1000 people hit the streets and started beating the mb's back along 6th avenue where Zanu Bulawayo HQs are, with the obvious intention of burning them down.  The police, however, were ready and had blocked off all roads.  They were forced back to the Zanu HQ where they were finally too strong for a bunch of unprepared irate citizens of the city.  The tear gas flew.  The citizens retreated and remembered ZDECO (Zimbabwe Distance Education College - owned by, and opened by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu when he was Minister Of Higher Education).  They went there and burnt it down.
Later there were spontaneous skirmishes in Entumbane where the mb's got beaten by the citizens.
Later the mb's wanted to get back on the train to Harare which is meant to leave at 8.00 pm.  There was a send off committee waiting for them.  They got beaten again.  This time seriously and the police had to fire shots in the air to call off the action. 
The train finally left at 11.00 pm.
It seems that it was not a good visit to Bulawayo for mb's.
On Monday morning a building contractor was asked to assess the damage to the MDC building.  It appears that because it was built in the first half of the 20th century the builders used lime instead of cement.  The former is more flexible under fire whereas the latter is inclined to explode.  The net result is that the damage is not as great as might have been expected.  Lintels are intact and although the glass in the windows has melted and the window frames have buckled, the structural damage is not nearly as great as might have been expected.  Most importantly, volunteers were there and in a couple of hours had cleaned up the superficial mess.  Banners were flying indicating that Morgan Tsangirayi was going to be the president next year and graffitti was on the burnt walls stating that this was the work of mugabe"s criminals and that it was the last kick of a dying donkey.  What was great was the fact that everyone had their tails up.  You can burn a peoples' building but you cannot burn their spirit.
It is anticipated that within a week part of the structure should be functional as a REGIONAL MDC HEADQUARTERS.
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Daily News - Feature

FEATURE  Tuesday   20  , November

Zimbabwe not yet ready to hold election

11/20/01 7:26:07 AM (GMT +2)

Nungu at large with William Tagwirei Bango

NEXT year's Presidential election promises to expose Zimbabweans to their
worst experiences in two decades, unless it is handled with extreme care.

Never before has the government's action dominated activity in every facet
of our lives, in such a significant and telling way, by involving itself in
what could essentially be the private person.

That behaviour is normally associated with individuals or groups that are
under siege, battling to get out of discomfort through random mudding and
ruckus spatter. Overnight, the entire nation has been dragged into a state
of sizzling derangement and a psyche of self-defence.

Crucial policy changes are made, amended and announced at funerals,
weddings, tea parties, and other unexpected occasions.

Criminals, who have a right to support any political party, are re-baptised
and ordered to implicate their local political priests in all sorts of
vices, whenever they are arrested. Puppets, terrorists and saboteurs are
suddenly loitering around our door step, threatening our sovereignty.

Urban workers and anyone born after independence are demonised, despised and
suspected of near treason.

Villagers and farm workers, hostages in political custody since February
2000, are frightened and crying out for relief. Race, ethnic and community
relations are strained.

Honesty, public service and an essential chip of public journalism have been
terribly messed up. The police are displaying selective enthusiasm on crime,
safety and security - even on dangerous sins like kidnappings and

Laws, which ordinary citizens and civil society have fought for years to
change because they muffled generic freedoms, are being tightened to reduce
and even take away the little flexibility we enjoyed in the past 21 years.

The climate is heavy. It will get worse. No meaningful election can take
place under such conditions.

There is absolutely nothing sacred about the whole event.

If a traditional election usually results in a meaningful political
competition, then President Mugabe must seek a postponement until such time
when his government and Zimbabwe have put sufficient mechanisms to save us
from an irreversible descent into Hades.

This election holds Zimbabwe's last chance. The doors are now wide open and
nobody may be able to close them, especially when all kinds of winds are
swirling up in the horizon.

Instead of subjecting the nation to ridicule within the SADC neighbourhood
and even beyond, the government must simply swallow its bile and admit that
it is not ready to run an open, transparent election.

The inspection of the voters' roll was supposed to start last week. It was
postponed. Even if it had started, it is difficult to see how this could be
done when voter registration is still on. When will those voters who
register now be able to check if their names are on the roll or not.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), whose constitutional mandate is
to supervise that activity, merely exists on paper. And, as earlier
reported, if voters are to cast ballots in their respective constituencies
in that emotional election, then the Delimitation Commission will have to be
reconstituted to redraw electoral boundaries. To do this, the Commission
needs a complete voters roll. Last year, Justice Wilson Sandura worked
overtime to finish the work. If the voter registration and inspection
processes are set to end just before, or by Christmas, then let us give the
whole game a thorough rethink.

Internationally, we are sitting on a knife edge. We were convicted,
condemned, executed a long time ago. Some may argue that the verdict was
reached before trial. Our appeal, in the circumstances, can only be heard
through a bloodless, clean and transparent election.

The European Union, the United States of America, President Bakili Muluzi,
the current SADC chairman and SADC have given us deadlines to shape up or
risk being dumped into the middle of nowhere.

It is useless to argue that we are acting within our laws. What if those
laws are unjust? We have to deal with perceptions of deceit, deception and
dishonesty to retain a lanyard of legitimacy and credibility.

The process and its result must be above suspicion.

A postponement will give everybody breathing space, through limited
politicking. It will give the government ample time to prepare for the
election and repair its dented image.

Under the Constitution, a delay or postponement requires a two-thirds
approval of Parliament. It needs MDC support, which is possible if Zanu PF
agrees to key conditions, such as a code of conduct, public safety, access
to the public media and basic respect.

The intervening period could be used to help establish peace and stability
and, perhaps push the fighters to listen to each other.

A draft code of conduct worked out by a multi-party committee just before
the February 2000 referendum was scuttled and never used in the June
parliamentary election. It can be revived.

A non-partisan Parliamentary committee could hammer out an acceptable
Constitution, taking in positive ideas from the colonial Lancaster House
law, the rejected Constitutional Commission document and the angry National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) draft.

The NCA says it is unhappy with an election under the present Lancaster
House Constitution. It has already dismissed the result, long before the
voting starts. Their argument is that the Constitution is so central to
issues of governance and elections, making it impossible for Zimbabwe to
proceed under the present set up. As expected, the other version of civil
society, the government-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs), known
by the acronymn Gongos, do not share the same views. Their leaders are on
television every day, representing no one.

The continuing rounds of changes to the Electoral Act, the Cain Nkala story,
new orders on the land dispute and the latest attacks on the opposition and
the media show that there is no need for an election. The atmosphere is just
not ripe for a meaningful game.

"It would be highly irregular for civil servants to monitor themselves,"
argues Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network. "This would be equivalent to a candidate setting an examination,
sitting in that examination, supervise that examination and later marking
his or her own script."

Zimbabwe must wait, recover lost skin and re-join the world.


Zimbabwe groups call mass protest over election rules

HARARE, Nov. 20 — Zimbabwe civic groups have called for a mass demonstration
in Harare on Wednesday against what they see as government plans to tighten
electoral rules in its favour ahead of next year's presidential poll.
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Daily News

Zapu to contest in presidential election

11/20/01 9:03:27 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

ZAPU, led by Agrippa Madlela, will contest next year's presidential
election. In an interview at the weekend, the secretary-general of the
party, Paul Siwela, said the party will meet soon to select a candidate to
contest against Robert Mugabe for Zanu PF and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai
for the post of president.

"We will field a candidate for the presidential election next year because
we're confident of forming the next government. We will hold a special
conference of the national executive committee on 15 December to select a
candidate," he said.
The candidate was likely to be one of the party's three top men - Madlela,
his deputy Smith Mbedzi and Siwela himself. Siwela said Zapu strongly
believes in a federal system of government in which the country would be
divided into five autonomous states, each under a governor who will report
to the President.

"Our system of government envisages five states namely Manicaland,
Mashonaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland. Each state will have its
own constitution, budget, executive, judiciary and a High Court with the
Supreme Court in Harare. Our system would have a small cabinet, at most 18
cabinet ministers from all the five states," Siwela said. "We feel strongly
that we have support nationwide, although our base is in Bulawayo," said
In the 2000 parliamentary election Zapu fielded 26 candidates and received a
total of 78 000 votes.

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Mugabe could fuel violence'


Message recalls a warning he gave his main rivals in the 1980s


ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's warning that he will crush the
opposition for plotting against his government is likely to see a rise in
political violence before elections next year, analysts said yesterday.

But the increasingly unpredictable Zimbabwean leader could also ban the
opposition or jail its leadership under sweeping presidential powers if he
still felt vulnerable, they said.

In a chilling verbal attack on his foes at the funeral of a slain
war-veterans leader on Sunday, Mugabe said the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change's days were numbered.

He did not elaborate, but political analysts said Mugabe's message recalled
a warning he gave his main rivals in the 1980s.

After that warning, his ruling ZANU-PF party embarked on an orgy of violence
in Joshua Nkomo's opposition stronghold which left thousands dead and
effectively crushed Nkomo's ZAPU party.

The analysts said Mugabe's militant supporters are likely to step up a
campaign to cripple Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC before presidential polls due by
April, and the government could ban the MDC if violence, intimidation and
imprisonment fails seriously to weaken the party.

"I don't think there should be any question about whether Mugabe will crush
the opposition because he has done it before, and has been trying to do it
in the past year," said Elphas Mukonoweshuro, an analyst at the University
of Zimbabwe.

Events in the southern African nation are worrying outsiders, including
Amara Essy, the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity, who
expressed concern yesterday that events in Zimbabwe could harm moves towards
an African Union.

Mugabe accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Sunday of cofunding what
he called a "terrorist plot" against his government and vowed to crush the

Chenjerai Hove, a leading Zimbabwean political and social commentator, said
Mugabe could consider mass detentions, and bannings because the MDC has
remained strong despite a 22-month-old campaign of violence.

Tsvangirai who is expected to give Mugabe the stiffest challenge of his
career in the presidential elections says the MDC will not boycott the
elections whatever the obstacles.

MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube said: "We know that they are going to
try everything, including assassinating our leadership, but our belief is
that the people of Zimbabwe are not going to allow them to succeed in any
devious programme."

ZANU-PF chief spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said yesterday Mugabe's speech
was clear and needed no interpretation.

At least 31 people, most of them opposition supporters, were killed in
violence before the June 2000 parliamentary election in which the MDC won 57
of the 120 contested seats.

MDC leader Tsvangirai warned on Friday of possible civil unrest across the
country after ZANU-PF militants burned down his party offices in Bulawayo
and his supporters torched a college owned by a senior ZANU-PF official in

Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into a severe economic crisis last year when he
allowed militants to invaded whiteowned farms in support of his land seizure

20 November 2001

ZIMBABWE: Civil society to stage mass rally against election act

JOHANNESBURG, 20 November (IRIN) - Civil rights groups in Zimbabwe plan to stage a mass rally in the capital Harare on Wednesday against proposed amendments to the electoral act which would deny many Zimbabweans the right to vote in upcoming elections.

NGOs, civic organisations and human rights bodies believe the amendments put forward by President Robert Mugabe's government will notably curb the voting rights of Zimbabweans living abroad - many believed to support the opposition - in next year's presidential elections, due to be held before April.

"The demonstration will show the revulsion of the people of Zimbabwe to what we see as great fraud," Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a broad-based coalition of civic, religious and opposition groups, told a news conference on Tuesday.
According to an article by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) published on Tuesday, the amendments would designate the under-funded Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) as the only body to conduct civic education and would ban foreign funding unless directed to the ESC. Civil society organisations would therefore be prohibited from providing civic education.

The EISA also noted that the amendments would mean that only civil servants will be permitted to observe the elections. But after more than two decades of ZANU-PF rule, the civil service is widely regarded as a partisan institution.

International observers have also been blocked, the article said, notably in the September expulsion of a team from the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Efforts by the US government and the European Union (EU) to gain clarification on what role, if any, would be possible for international election observers have been unsuccessful.

The NCA and its supporters plan to gather outside parliament around midday on Wednesday to bar the country's deputies from entering the building to debate the proposed amendment. "This motion must not be entertained at all," Mwonzora said.

The amendments to the electoral act, which were reported in the state-run Herald newspaper, stipulate that voters need to provide title deeds, certificates of occupation or lodgers' cards as proof of residence before they can register to vote.

But many city dwellers do not own properties and live in illegal, make-shift structures in the city's working class suburbs. Village heads and traditional leaders will have to vouch for voters who live in rural areas. Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a civic organisation, told AFP that the new regulations were a worrying development.

"We are really worried about these changes and measures which don't seem to abide by the constitution," he said. The ZESN also questioned the government's decision to introduce the new regulations ahead of the presidential polls. "We should always be aware that flawed electoral processes are often a source of conflict," warned Matchaba-Hove.
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Daily News

Tsvangirai accuses police of protecting Nkala's killers

11/20/01 8:56:05 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, yesterday accused the police of
protecting the killers of the Bulawayo war veterans' leader, Cain Nkala, by
blaming his party.

He was speaking to representatives of diplomatic missions in Harare on the
MDC's perspective concerning the abduction and murder of Nkala.

Tsvangirai said: "We believe that the police know the real killers of Nkala
but want to protect them by shifting the blame on the MDC."
He said Nkala's murder had denied the MDC the right to establish his guilt
or innocence in the courts in the Patrick Nabanyama case. Nabanyama, the
election agent for the now Bulawayo South MP, David Coltart of the MDC, in
the parliamentary election last year, was abducted in broad
daylight by 10 war veterans in the run-up to the poll and is presumed dead.

Tsvangirai said: "We are dismayed that the war veterans' leadership and the
government are accusing the MDC of the abduction of Nkala. The MDC has
nothing to do with the abduction. We are a peace-loving and non-violent
party. Under extremely difficult circumstances in the face of killings,
beatings and intimidation we have refrained from retaliating."
Tsvangirai said that the MDC believed that the people who abducted Nkala
were among the war veterans' leadership and the murder arose out of their
own power struggles.

Those represented at the briefing were Botswana, South Africa, The
Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Switzerland, the United States of America,
Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, France and the European Union.
Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary for foreign affairs, said that Zanu PF had
used the same smear tactics it was now using against the MDC to destroy the
late Joshua Nkomo's PF-Zapu and the late Ndabaningi Sithole, the leader of
Biti said: "They are not going to succeed. This time they are dealing with a
tougher opponent - the masses of Zimbabwe."
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The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has dismissed subversion charges brought by the government against the leader of the country's main opposition party.

The court has ruled that a colonial-era law invoked to prosecute Morgan Tsvangirai violated his constitutional right to a fair trial.

He had been indicted on allegations he incited an overthrow of the government.
Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 14:05 GMT
Court victory for Mugabe opponent
Mr Tsvangirai  (left)
Mr Tsvangirai is now free to run in elections
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has dismissed charges of terrorism and sabotage against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwean voters
Presidential polls are due early next year

In its ruling, the court said the charges contravened sections of the constitution.

If Mr Tsvangirai had been convicted and forced to serve a jail sentence, the leader of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), could have been prevented from standing in next year's elections.

The decision will be welcomed by government critics who fear that intimidation and a series of new appointments have swung the judiciary behind the government.

Unanimous decision

The Supreme Court found unanimously that the charges contravened the section of the constitution stating that a person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven or pleaded guilty.

The charges related to a speech Mr Tsvangirai made at an MDC rally last September, in which he said Mr Mugabe could be removed from office by violent means if he did not go peacefully.

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai was charged under colonial-era laws
Mr Tsvangirai later withdrew his statement. He had described the charges as politically motivated.

According to Reuters, the judges also agreed by a four to one majority that the charges also contravened section 20 of the constitution that guarantees freedom of expression.

Zimbabwe's judges have frequently ruled against Mr Mugabe in the past, earning them the wrath of the authorities.

But four judges were forced to resign this year and several new appointments were seen as sympathetic to Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Politically sensitive

The ruling on Mr Tsvangirai is one of the first politically sensitive decisions to have been made in the wake of the new appointments.

Former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay
Gubbay was forced to resign
It will go some way to allaying fears that the judiciary has finally bowed to government threats and insults.

Zimbabwe's most senior judge, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, was forced to resign earlier this year after he was told his safety could no longer be guaranteed.

Mr Gubbay, who is white, was also accused of being a "colonial relic".

He was replaced in March by Godfrey Chidyausiku, a former deputy minister in Mr Mugabe's cabinet.

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Daily News

Daily News reporters released from police custody

11/20/01 9:00:37 AM (GMT +2)

From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

Bulawayo-based reporter, Mduduzi Mathuthu, and photographer Grey Chitiga
were released from police custody last night without charges being preferred
against them.

There were efforts by the police to persuade them to turn state witnesses.
The two refused.
The two journalists were picked up on Sunday to prevent them from publishing
an interview with an MDC activist who had revealed details of the kidnapping
and murder of war veterans' leader Cain Nkala.

They spent Sunday night at different prisons, Mathuthu at Esigodini and
Chitiga at Figtree, places about 40km from Bulawayo. Earlier senior police
officers disappeared when a lawyer and a senior official of Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of The Daily News, tried to
secure the release of the two.

Innocent Kurwa, the ANZ operations manager, last night had given up hope of
securing the journalists' release after the police officers who arrested the
two could not be found.
Kurwa said the police had earlier said that the two did not have a case to
answer so they should be released. "We started dealing with senior police
officers on the case, but one-by-one they have been disappearing and now we
are left with only three junior officers," he said.
The police move is believed to be part of an effort to prevent The Daily
News from publishing details that might disprove Zanu PF's claims that Nkala
was killed by MDC members.
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Daily News

Special police crack unit deployed in Mozambique

11/20/01 9:14:17 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Mutare

MOZAMBIQUE has deployed a police crack unit from the capital Maputo to towns
and centres close to the border to flush out and deport Zimbabwean

The unit, referred to as the Red Berets and armed with AK rifles, small
firearms and sniffer dogs, has for the past week been conducting
door-to-door searches for Zimbabweans who they round-up and deport. The
deportation of Zimbabweans, which initially started in Beira, has now been
extended to Chimoio, Manica and Machipanda - all Mozambican towns and
centres close to the border with Zimbabwe. "They are moving from house to
house with sniffer dogs in areas they suspect Zimbabweans could be staying,"
a Zimbabwean law enforcement source said last week, referring to the Red

Last week, a Mr Rafael, a Mozambican immigration officer in Beira told The
Daily News during a telephone interview that his government had intensified
efforts to rid the country of all foreign nationals living there illegally.
Rafael also said non-Mozambicans caught trading in commodities without
authorised documents were being deported.

But some of the deported Zimbabweans disputed that assertion, saying
Mozambicans were indiscriminately targeting them - regardless of whether or
not they had valid visas and trade documents. Other nationals, the
Zimbabwean deportees said, were not being subjected to the same treatment.
Tineyi Chigudu, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs,
said Zimbabwean authorities were aware of the deportations. He said the
government still had to take a position on the matter.

The total number of deportees since last Saturday could not be established.
But more than 300 Zimbabweans were believed to have been deported from
Mozambique by Friday last week. The first group, about 150 from Beira,
arrived in Mutare on Wednesday last week. Immigration officials in Mutare at
the weekend referred all questions to their head offices in Harare. On
Friday, another group of 150 deportees arrived in Mutare. Elasto Mugwadi,
the chief immigration officer, requested this newspaper to submit questions
in writing. He, however, had not responded by the time of going to press.

The deportations appear to be putting a further strain on the two
neighbours, political allies since Zimbabwe's liberation war.
Relations soured when Zimbabwe prohibited the export of essential items such
as sugar, maize-meal, cooking oil, soap, beer and beverages - which have a
ready market in Mozambique - to forestall shortages on the domestic market.
Mozambicans on shopping trips to Zimbabwe have complained lately about
increased harassment by local law enforcement officers.

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Daily News

Government to pay $31,4bn to creditors

11/20/01 8:17:59 AM (GMT +2)

By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government, which is facing a severe foreign
currency crisis with skyrocketing external and domestic debts, says it will
repay more than US$570 million (about Z$31,4 billion) to various creditors
by the end of the year.

However, the government has not said how it would raise this amount, coming
at a time when exports continue to dwindle and the economy's performance is

Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in his
2002 National Budget presented in Parliament two weeks ago, pointed out that
the government had a total external payment arrears amounting to US$682,3
million as of 26 October 2001.

He said the government would repay a total of US$571,7 million by the end of
December, this year.

Zimbabwe continues to default on repayments much to the disgruntlement of
the international community including the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank, the major funders of the country's economic recovery
programme. Makoni said the country owed multi-lateral organisations US$225
million as of 26 October, this year.

The government has promised to repay US$84,4 million by the end of the year.

He said the government owed the IMF US$69,2 million, the World Bank (US$41,9
million), the African Development Bank (ADB) US$92,3 million and other
creditors, US$21,6 million.

Makoni said the government would repay the creditors - IMF, World Bank, the
ADB and others

US$21,8 million, US$26,2 million, US$25,5 million, and US$10,9 million,
respectively, by the end of the year.

However, Dr Makoni pointed out that the country's parastatals also owed a
large chunk of money which was included in the shocking total arrear

Parastatals, which are controlled by the government, continue to milk
billions from the fiscus.

Parastatals are required to plough back some of their annual dividends to
the government when they declare a profit.

Some of the parastatals that have already done so include the Cotton Company
of Zimbabwe Limited, Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited, the Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited, as well as the
Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited.

These are the few parastatals that are viable and have managed to reap
profits for the cash-strapped government.

Makoni said total parastatal arrears amounted to US$232,6 million as at 26
October, this year.

Repayment by the parastatals would be US$331,1 million by the end of

The parastatals owe multi-lateral organisations US$58,4 million and have
promised to repay US$36,3 million by the end of the year.

Makoni said the parastatals owe the World Bank US$30 million, the ADB,
US$9,4 million, and other donors US$19 million.

The minister said the parastatals had promised to repay US$4,1 million, the
ADB (US$15,4 million) and other creditors (US$16,8 million), respectively,
by the end of the year.

The figures, he said, had been supplied by his ministry as well as the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
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Daily News  -  Leader Page

Magwaza a disgrace to journalism profession

11/20/01 7:37:13 AM (GMT +2)

By Richard Carver

I SHOULD say to start with that I have never met Phillip Magwaza, the
political editor of The Herald, and I bear him no ill will.

Until the last few days I cannot think that I was aware of his existence
(nor he of mine, I'm sure). I do not doubt that he loves his children, pays
his taxes and is probably kind to animals too.

But my reason for writing this is that Magwaza is a disgrace to his

I became dimly aware of Magwaza when I saw an article of his, last
Wednesday, comparing the MDC to the Nazis.

I barely took note, except to think that here was someone who did not have
journalistic standards at the forefront of his mind. I did not regard it as
terribly pernicious, simply because I could not imagine anyone taking it

Then on Friday there appeared another piece under Magwaza's byline,
describing the last moments of Cain Nkala. For those who missed it, here is
a flavour:
"Minutes before Bulawayo war veterans' chairman Cde Cain Nkala was killed,
he pleaded with his abductors to let him pray.

"The gag around his mouth was removed, in Biblical style, like what Jesus
Christ did, Cde Nkala asked that God should forgive his captors because they
did not know what they were doing . . .

"As the shallow grave was dug, Cde Nkala began to sing. Irked by his singing
the kidnappers put on the gag again. The dreaded shoelace was then tightened
like a noose around his neck. Slowly and painfully, he struggled for
And so on.

There are two possible explanations for this story before we come to the
obvious one.

The first is that Magwaza witnessed the murder of Nkala. This is admittedly
unlikely, since the MDC members allegedly responsible would not usually take
a journalist from the government-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers stable along on a
killing spree.

But this is a remote possibility and perhaps even now Bulawayo detectives
are taking Magwaza's witness statement.

The next explanation, which is slightly more likely, is that Magwaza has
interviewed those who committed the crime.

This immediately runs into the same objection. Why would MDC murderers speak
to the man from The Herald?

If this is indeed the source of Magwaza's story, then we probably won't see
him testifying in court, since this would be hearsay, but I'm sure the
Bulawayo police will still be interested in his interview notes.

Of course, you, I and Magwaza all know that he need not worry about a visit
from the detectives for the very simple reason that he made the whole thing

It is really difficult to know where to start listing Magwaza's ethical

The fact that Magwaza only seems to be on nodding acquaintance with the
English language is the least of his shortcomings ("Like what Jesus did"?).

And how does removing a gag "Biblical style" differ from doing it any other

Perhaps I dozed through Sunday school the week we did Leviticus on gag

Consider, for a moment, the feelings of Nkala's family. Has Magwaza thought
for a moment how Nkala's widow and son (for whom he professes great
sympathy) would feel about a detailed description of the last moments of
their husband and father?

The same question could be put to ZBC with their graphic footage of him
being dragged from his grave.

It is an ethical principle of journalism not to intrude into private grief.

The only possible circumstance in which this might be justified would be if
there was an overriding public interest.

This leads directly to the next professional misdemeanour. By the time
Magwaza's article appeared, several people had been charged in connection
with Nkala's murder, placing the matter sub judice. So the public interest
was in the impartial progress of the judicial process, not uninformed
speculation. We wait, but not with bated breath, for Magwaza to be charged
with contempt of court.

Then, of course, there is the article's simple lack of truthfulness. If
Magwaza would seriously have us believe that this is an account of Nkala's
last moments, then we really need more than just his saying so. Who are his
sources? No serious newsroom in the world would countenance running a story
of such potentially inflammatory impact with no evidence to substantiate it.

And this is Magwaza's greatest professional dereliction. As I write this,
Bulawayo has been hit by serious violence. Whether anyone has died yet, I do
not know, but it is surely only a matter of time. These will be real, messy,
horrible deaths (like Nkala's and Patrick Nabanyama's), not the fictional,
"Biblical style" demises of Magwaza's imagination.

The duty of any responsible journalist in this situation is to report
factually, in a manner aimed at dampening, rather than inflaming, violent
sentiments. No one supposes that it is easy to report violent death in a
manner that is not upsetting. But that is precisely why strictly truthful
reporting is so important, rather than speculation or, still worse,

I hesitate to impute to Magwaza the worst possible motive. To give him the
benefit of the doubt, perhaps he does not realise that this sort of trash
could incite people to commit violent crimes.

Perhaps Bulawayo war veterans do not read The Herald, which would let him
off the hook, though after the last few days many journalists at the ZBC
might want to examine their consciences.

What Magwaza has put out is not so different from the propaganda of Rwandan
journalists in the early 1990s. Some of them are currently serving long
prison sentences, after conviction by the International Tribunal in Arusha.

Magwaza is probably not yet contemplating a future behind bars, but I don't
know how he can face himself in the mirror every morning.

Richard Carver is a former journalist and a writer on media and human

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You can't believe everything you read...
1. Today, the front page of the state-owned Herald carries an article stating that David Coltart MP has evacuated his family to South Africa, and insinuated that he is himself in hiding. This is not true. Mr Coltart's children are at school in Bulawayo, and if Information Minister Jonathan Moyo cares to look across the floor of Parliament today when it reconvenes, he will see Mr Coltart on the Opposition benches, along with all the other MDC MPs, with the exception of Fletcher Dulini-Ncube MP, who is still in police custody.
2. Two days ago, the state-owned Sunday Mail reported that Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the MDC, had held a meeting with western diplomats at the US Embassy in Harare, at which he had promised to reverse all land reforms. This was the response of the public affairs spokesman at the US Embassy :
"The story in the Sunday Mail of November 18 alleging a meeting among western diplomats and Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai at the US Embassy on November 8 is false. No such meeting occurred on November 8 or any other date. The US Embassy regrets that at this critical time in Zimbabwe's history, when the nation especially needs factual news reporting, the Sunday Mail chose to publish this baseless story. The Embassy's spokesman is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week to answer questions of fact or clarify US policy. The Sunday Mail did not contact the Embassy's spokesman for verification of or comment on the story."
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MDC fears Mugabe crackdown


By Tony Hawkins

HARARE - Fears that President Robert Mugabe's government is moving towards
the declaration of a state of emergency in Zimbabwe are growing following
his accusations that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is guilty
of "terrorism".
In an emotionally charged weekend speech at the funeral of Cain Nkala,
former war veteran leader, the president referred to the MDC and the
country's white farmers as "terrorists" at least 20 times.

Political analysts say that this is partly an attempt to associate Zimbabwe
with the global coalition against terrorism, but also to prepare public
opinion for a move against the MDC.

"The MDC and their supporters should know that their days are numbered. The
time is now up for the MDC terrorists," he said.

The president's accusations are supported by news reports in the state-owned
media. Both state radio and the government owned daily newspapers claim
repeatedly that the "suspected MDC terrorists" abducted and murdered Nkala.

Nkala was kidnapped the day before he was due to give evidence in court
about the disappearance of Patrick Nabanyama, an MDC activist who vanished
during the election campaign 17 months ago.

Opposition and human rights groups claim Mr Nkala was on the brink of
fleeing to Britain because he believed his life to be in danger from war
veterans in the Bulawayo area.

The government version is very different. It claims that last Friday the MDC
attacked and burned down its own offices in Bulawayo to destroy
incriminating evidence of the party's involvement in Nkala's murder.

State radio also said the MDC had prevented the fire brigade from putting
out the blaze. But eyewitness reports say war veterans and supporters of the
ruling Zanu-PF ransacked and burned the MDC's regional office.

On Sunday, the state media reported that at a secret meeting with western
diplomats, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who will stand against Mr
Mugabe in the presidential election in March, had promised to reverse the
government's fast-track land resettlement programme.

The Sunday Mail claimed that Tsvangirai made this pledge to western
diplomats at a meeting at the US embassy in Harare. But a senior western
diplomat yesterday described the claims as false, adding that no such
meeting had been held.

In a political cartoon, unintentionally highlighting Zimbabwe's isolation,
the state-owned Herald newspaper yesterday depicted Tsvangirai as an ally of
the independent media in Zimbabwe, the European Union, the Commonwealth,
Britain and Denmark.

The official media are also being used to portray a more favourable picture
of the economic situation than that outlined in the recent budget by Simba
Makoni, the finance minister.

State radio reported on Monday that the officially calculated 97.9 per cent
inflation figure for October was inaccurate because it failed to take
account of price controls, imposed last month.

Economic "experts", reported by the radio, said price controls would lead to
a fall in inflation by the end of the year.

"The fact that official propaganda is becoming increasingly hysterical, as
well as unbelievable, underlines growing government panic that is losing the
battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate," one MDC politician said.

Although MDC leaders say next year's election cannot possibly be free or
fair, they remain confident of winning. "It is not so much a matter of the
MDC's popularity," says one analyst but "sheer hatred" for Zanu-PF.

Financial Times
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Business Day

Harare deals another blow to farmers

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE's government announced plans yesterday to slash the maximum
allowable size of the country's commercial farms in a move economists warned
would severely hamper the agricultural sectors' international

The new regulations, which target farms that have not been listed for
compulsory seizure by the government under its controversial land reform
scheme, will limit commercial farms in prime areas to 250ha, down from
several thousands of hectares.

"The government has decided that every property that has not been gazetted
for compulsory acquisition should immediately be subdivided," Lands and
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said. The biggest commercial farm in the
country's most fertile regions will now have to be no bigger than 250ha,
while farms such as cattle ranches in the more arid regions will be limited
to 2000ha. Most white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe average several
thousands of hectares.

The move is likely to deal a blow to the few large-scale white commercial
farmers who have escaped having their properties listed for acquisition.

Made said the properties affected by the agriculture ministry's new
regulations would include plantations, foreign-owned properties, wildlife
conservation areas and others.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who was also at the press briefing when
the regulations were announced, said that since Zimbabwe's independence in
1980, the country's white farmers had not fully utilised their land. "There
is a lot of idle capacity in this land," he said. "It has put at risk food

Contacted for their reaction, officials from the Commercial Farmers Union
declined to comment until they had more details.

However, independent economist John Robertson described the new regulations
as a "set of absurdities" that would destroy Zimbabwe's international
competitiveness in agricultural exports. He said Zimbabwe's exports of tea,
sugar, coffee and tobacco, like those of its major rivals, were produced at
a large scale to offset input costs and price fluctuations.

"We are almost guaranteeing we will not function in the export markets,"
Robertson said. "The government's regulations are founded on the idea that
we will never have the factories and employment we need to sustain this
country's population," he said.

The new legislation follows an amendment to the Land Acquisition Act on
November 9, when Mugabe used his discretionary powers to amend the act to
give his government the right to evade standing procedures in the compulsory
land redistribution process. The new law gave the state the right to confine
farmers to their homes for 90 days while their land is reallocated.

The Zimbabwean government has so far seized 4558 whiteowned farms. With AFP.
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